Sunrise's Nat Barr on unexpected side to new hosting role

·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·4-min read

She's two months into her new hosting gig on Sunrise and Nat Barr is still getting her head around some unexpected aspects of the job.

The 53-year-old was propelled into the spotlight when she moved from her role as the show's newsreader to the co-hosting chair following Sam Armytage's shock departure in March.

Sunrise's Nat Barr, Sam Armytage David 'Kochie' Koch and Mark Beretta on location in Uluru
Nat with former host Sam Armytage, David 'Kochie' Koch and Mark Beretta on location in Uluru in 2017. Photo: Channel 7.

'More pressure, more feedback'

Despite having 17 years of experience in front of the camera, Channel 7 veteran Nat admits she didn't anticipate the increase in 'pressure' and 'responsibility' when she stepped into Sam's shoes.

"Before it was all care and no responsibility," the mum-of-two told TV WEEK of her role as newsreader.

"Now, it's all responsibility. It's [the job] mine now and, to be honest, it's taken me quite a few weeks to get used to the fact that I'm it," Nat added.

She went on to explain how, looking back on those first few weeks as host alongside David ‘Kochie’ Koch, she didn't realise how stressful it was.

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Sunrise host Nat Barr takes a selfie in front of a mirror
Sunrise's Nat Barr has opened up about the unexpected side to her new hosting role. Photo: Instagram/natalie_barr7.

"There's more pressure, more feedback. I thought I was relaxed weeks ago, but now I don't think I was."

Nat also spoke about the kind gesture she received from friend and former Sunrise co-host Melissa Doyle, who texted her to say 'I hope you get the job'.

'Ready for it'

At the recent launch of Sunrise weatherman Sam Mac's new book, Nat had a chance to catch up with Sam who quit breakfast TV to live the quiet life with her husband, Richard Lavender, on his farm.

"Sam's happy she's not doing the hours and is happy living a quieter life, definitely," Nat reported.

She touched on how she feels about the increased public scrutiny that comes with the hosting role, which was the main reason predecessor Sam stepped away.

"I think I'm ready for it," she said. "I think people get sick of people who work in TV complaining about the attention."

Nat revealed that she has since turned off her Twitter notifications and has no qualms blocking or reporting social media trolls, promising that she 'won't complain' about any negativity she cops online.

"I get hate mail, I get death threats," she said. "I've worked in newsrooms for over 30 years. I defy you to offend me."

Sunrise hosts Nat Barr and David 'Kochie' Koch
Nat with co-host David 'Kochie' Koch. Photo: Channel 7.

Source of strength

Nat called out her husband of 25 years, film editor Drew Thompson, as being her biggest supporter through this latest career change.

"I really couldn't do any of this without him," she said. "He's so much stronger than me. I might appear strong, but I'm not really. I've learned to be a stronger person over the years and through my job. But I do take things to heart, and I've learned to try to leave work behind. He helps me with that."

A few weeks into her new hosting role, Nat told Kyle and Jackie O on KIIS FM that it was Drew who kindly but firmly told her it was time to 'step up' and accept the job offer.

"He said, 'If you sit there and say no and you’re listening to someone else do it, you’ll regret it.'"

Sam is farewelled by her Sunrise colleagues on March 11
Nat and her Sunrise colleagues farewell outgoing host Sam Armytage on March 11. Photo: Instagram/sam_armytage.

She also opened up about how she came to replace Sam in the hosting chair after presenting the news on Sunrise for several years.

"There was a call from the big boss who said, 'How about it?' I said, 'Oh, OK, yeah right.'"

Nat admitted that she'd almost turned down the offer — which came through a 'few days' before Sam's announcement — due to nerves.

"I was actually really nervous. I was so nervous that one of the bosses who called actually said, 'Are you sure you want this?'"

She said she wasn't 'clamouring' for anything else from her job; "If Sam had wanted to stay for another 10 years that was fine with me."

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